2014 Back and Side Yard Gardens Are Off to a Strong Start

Last week I wrote about the side yard garden and promised to post pictures about my other gardens as well. I take space wherever I can grab it while still leaving plenty of grassy areas for my kids to play.

We will begin with the area that was once my only garden:

This year it holds mostly Tom Thumb Popping Corn. I planted in three blocks and they're doing quite well so far. The far right row also contains three rainbow zucchini plants as well as three pickling cucumber plants (hopefully more if the second round takes since I lost one here early on). The mailbox is a new addition to the space and holds a few pairs of gloves and some tools. I've found this to be really really helpful as I seem to always end up over here without what I need and it is at the opposite end of the yard from the side yard garden.

The weed blocker serves several purposes: It (obviously) blocks weeds from growing, it warms the soil to the temperature the corn likes without me having to wait until July for the necessary warmth and it seems to keep the birds from stealing my seeds.

Back to the right of this garden, near the tall fence, is our dwarf cherry tree. This is the second year in the ground and while I saw three cherries on it the other day, the one that was almost red is now missing so I can only assume our jerk crows have stolen more of our goodies.

Moving on around to the left along the shorter fence are two apple trees that we put in last year. We got 3 apples last year. These are dwarf trees and I'll prune them quite a bit shorter when that time is right. I cut them back this year but they grew a ton even after I trimmed them. These are a grafted variety that will grow 3 or 4 (I can't remember) different types of apples.

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They're still small but we have a lot of them this year. Hooray!

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Under the trees, but still getting sunlight, are my potato bags. If they do well, I'll post a tutorial on how I made them at the end of the summer. I want to test them out first though. This is my first year growing potatoes and if I recall correctly, I planted three different varieties.

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Next to the second apple tree is my new raspberry patch. I purchased 9 bare root plants then received about 20 additional ones from someone thinning out her patch. The ones on the end that look rather sad are the donated ones and I doubt I'll get anything out of them this year but that's OK, they're creating a good root structure right now so they'll come back strong next year. I'm learning that with gardening, sometimes I just have to wait a year or two to get the fruit I want.

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Across from this area are three of our blueberry bushes, two sugar pie pumpkin plants and will soon feature around 100 Trail of Tears Black Bean plants which I started in the little greenhouse in order to buy some time to set up the climbing structure along the side of the house.

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Our blueberries are doing well and seem to be growing us some nice plump berries. This is their second year on our property.

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Finally, we have four huckleberry bushes, three more blueberry bushes and two more pumpkin plants next to our front yard along the fence. Incidentally, we also have what we call our snowball tree which spends weeks dropping tiny white petals all over this portion of our yard and landscaping. I took this picture about an hour after raking them all out.

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So that covers the remainder of our property beyond the main garden in the side yard. I'm so excited about what we have growing. I need to work on perking our pumpkins up as the two plants in the raised bed in the main garden are really thriving but the rest all look a little sad. Perhaps some compost will perk them up. I spent about an hour outside most evenings after the kids go to bed and it has quickly become such an important part of my day. After poking around the gardens checking on everything, I feel calm and productive and relaxed. I sleep better at night knowing I can provide food for my family. I'm particularly proud that I started every one of this year's new plants from seed. It was still a bit of an investment in seeds but hopefully this year I'll get the hang of saving seeds so I don't have to buy new ones next year.

Thanks for letting me take you on a garden tour! If you've got a great garden growing this year, I encourage you to share your garden posts from your own blog or if you don't have a blog, I'd love to check out picture via links to publicly published photos (flickr, open security Facebook photos, etc).

Thank you for reading,


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